Monday, September 11, 2017

VMware looks to the clouds - part 1

VMware is reshaping its entire corporate strategy around the cloud and this year's VMworld conference is the embodiment of its full ambitions.  This statement could have been made at any of the past five years of VMworld shows. Each year there has been a new iteration as the company has evolved from a go-it-alone and own-the-cloud strategy to now being culturally attuned to a multicloud future.

The extent of VMware's cloud ambitions is nicely summarized in the following slide, which was shown by VMware's CEO, Pat Gelsinger, in the opening keynote of this week's VMworld show being hosted in Las Vegas.



The first big announcement from this year's event is that VMware Cloud on AWS is now commercially available in AWS U.S. West (Oregon) region. Other AWS data centers worldwide will follow in 2018. The strategic alliance between VMware and Amazon Web Services was first announced nearly one year ago. Under this partnership, AWS is designated as VMware’s primary public cloud infrastructure partner; and VMware will be AWS’s primary private cloud partner. The joint service will be sold by VMware. It runs on the latest, elastic, bare metal AWS infrastructure.
The big idea with hosting VMware Cloud on AWS is that enterprises will want to move virtual machine workloads and applications across VMware vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments, all with optimized access to AWS services, which could include S3 storage, cloud-based authentication, compliance and security monitoring, and real-time analytics. In short, VMware customers can use their existing VMware software and tools to leverage AWS’s global footprint and breadth of services, including storage, databases, analytics, etc.

As corporate IT moves applications and data to AWS, VMware has a strategic interest in ensuring that its virtual machine paradigm carrier through to the public cloud. It makes sense for VMware to do anything necessary to ensure that IT teams continue to manage their AWS-based resources with familiar (and profitable) VMware tools. If VMware had failed to make this deal, their very extensive base of Fortune 1000 customers who have begun to erode with every corporate application moved into AWS.

For AWS, VMware is great catch too. At this early stage of the public cloud market, the game is all about moving fast to build data centers, establish sticky services, and bring as many customers onboard before other competitors get to them. VMware is deeply entrenched in enterprise data centers. This could provide a very big on-ramp for moving corporate workloads into the AWS cloud.
Naturally, both companies are making a big deal out of this arrangement.

"VMware and AWS are empowering enterprise IT and operations teams to add value to their businesses through the combination of VMware enterprise capabilities and the breadth and depth of capabilities and scale of the AWS Cloud, providing them a platform for any application," said Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer, VMware. "VMware Cloud on AWS gives customers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud that delivers the same architecture, capabilities, and operational experience across both their vSphere-based on-premises environment and AWS."

"With the availability of VMware Cloud on AWS, for the first time customers can operate a consistent and seamless hybrid IT environment that combines the VMware software they love with the unmatched functionality, security, and operational expertise of the AWS Cloud," said Andy Jassy, chief executive officer, AWS. "The majority of the world's enterprises have virtualized their data centers with VMware, and now these customers can easily move applications between their on-premises environments and AWS without having to purchase any new hardware, rewrite their applications, or modify their operations."

The VMware / AWS alliance is hoping to build an ecosystem of third-party tools and services to fill in the gaps, many of which are significant barriers preventing applications from leaving the corporate data center. The companies said that more than 30 solutions are ready for VMware Cloud on AWS launch, including DevOps tools, application migration tools, data protection software, cloud analytics, security, etc.  Here are a few of the partners.

Chef

Chef, which specializes in automation tools, is introducing a solution for VMware Cloud on AWS.  Chef’s automation tools help data center teams to apply a consistent workflow across their infrastructure. The new capabilities bring together VMware’s enterprise-class Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) software and elastic, bare-metal infrastructure from AWS. Chef tools can be used to move workloads into production using consistent workflows, which helps in decreasing deployment risk and ensuring procedural compliance. The bottom line is this should be good for VMware and for AWS.

CloudCheckr

Another start-up called CloudCheckr, also introduced tools for helping enterprises migrate VMware workloads to the VMware Cloud on AWS.  The CloudCheckr solution, which is initially being launched in the AWS US West (Oregon) region, gives organizations consistent operating model foe application mobility. IT staff might use the tools to calculate the optimal configurations for running VMware vSphere in the public cloud. The tool converts data center specifications into comparable clusters running the same workload on specialized instances within AWS. This output can be used to understand expected utilization levels for CPU, storage and memory, which shows the anticipated monthly AWS spend of any given configuration.

Datapipe

Datapipe, which specializes in managed services for public cloud platforms, will launch a new service to help manage customers’ AWS and VMware Cloud on AWS footprints. Datapipe sees an opportunity to assist enterprises with planning, building, and running their approach for AWS with its full-service offering. Specifically, Datapipe will provide a unified management framework with a single monitoring platform, network connectivity options, and best practices based security and governance.

Mellanox

Mellanox sees a play to make the movement of VMs running is software-defined data centres more efficient. Their ideas to it combine Mellanox iSER (iSCSI Extensions for Remote Direct Memory Access [RDMA]) networking solutions with VMware vSphere. iSER uses an Ethernet Storage Fabric as a unified connectivity solution for compute and storage. Mellanox says this eliminates the need for Fibre Channel while providing improved performance at a lower cost. Its preliminary benchmark results show that iSER accelerates storage throughput by more than 3x and IOPs by more than 2x when compared to ordinary iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface). Mellanox also claims 2x better efficiency versus Fibre Channel storage connectivity.

Trend Micro

Trend Micro is bringing its server security product to VMware Cloud on AWS, promising seamless visibility and security for virtualized workloads across the SDDC, whether on-premises or in the new VMware Cloud on AWS.

McAfee

McAfee is also jumping aboard VMware Cloud on AWS with its Management for Optimized Virtual Environments (MOVE) AntiVirus, which is a threat protection solution optimized for virtual environments. This eliminates the need to install an agent on every VM. McAfee MOVE AntiVirus offloads all on-access scanning to a dedicated VM that runs McAfee VirusScan Enterprise.

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